SOMERSET’S six councils have been given extra money to plan for Brexit – but none of them seem to know how and where it will be spent.

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government is giving money to every local authority in England and Wales to help them “prepare for an orderly exit from the EU and do appropriate contingency planning.”

Each of Somerset’s six local authorities has received an allocation over the next two financial years, with Somerset County Council receiving the largest individual grant.

But none of the councils have been able to provide a detailed idea of how the money may be spent – because the government hasn’t yet told them how their duties and responsibilities will change once Britain leaves the European Union.

Communities secretary James Brokenshire MP announced the funding in the House of Commons on January 28.

He said: “Local government will play a critical role in making a success of Brexit at the local level.

“My department is committed to ensuring councils have the support and the funding they need to prepare for an orderly exit from the EU and do appropriate contingency planning.

“Across the [next] two years, all district councils will receive £35,000, all county councils will receive £175,000, all unitaries will receive £210,000 and all combined authorities will receive £182,000.

“This funding will help councils to adapt to changes caused by Brexit, while still protecting vital local services.”

Further funding is also being made available to local authorities facing “immediate impact from local ports”.

In Somerset, Somerset County Council has received the largest allocation of funding at £175,000.

Council leader David Fothergill said: “We’re of course grateful for this funding and the potential for more.

“At this stage we, like all local authorities, are still waiting for information about what our additional responsibilities and duties could be. This will, of course, inform where the money could be usefully spent.

“Although the impact is likely to be bigger for local authorities that are home to major ports, Somerset is represented on all the relevant local and regional planning forums – for example the Avon & Somerset Local Resilience Forum and the Civil Contingencies Forum.

“We will continue to pay close attention to Brexit developments in the coming weeks so we can respond as needed, making use of the government funding as appropriate.”

Somerset’s district and borough councils – which will reduce from five to four in number from April 1 – will each receive £35,000 across two years.

Sedgemoor District Council said it had been “identifying areas” where Brexit may impact the most, but did not specify how the new funding would be used.

A spokeswoman said: “At Sedgemoor, we have been identifying areas where the most impacts from Brexit may fall on our businesses and residents.

“We have also been working with other public sector colleagues to make best use of the resources to support our communities.”

A spokesman for South Somerset District Council added: “The announcement is welcome – although, alongside our colleagues at other local authorities in Somerset and across the UK, we await further advice from the government about the impact of Brexit and what this means for our responsibilities and duties.

“We will ensure we work closely with local businesses, other local authorities and central government to make the best use of this funding.”

Taunton Deane Borough Council and West Somerset Council will be replaced by Somerset West and Taunton Council on April 1 – just a few days after the UK is due to leave the EU.

A joint spokeswoman said: “We welcome this announcement of funding to carry out preparations for Brexit.

“We will be looking at how it can be used to support business and residents in the Taunton Deane and West Somerset area, but it is too early to be specific at this stage.”

A spokesperson for Mendip District Council added: “We appreciate the announcement made last week on the Brexit support funding, and as a council we are currently looking at what support we will need to put in place and offer our residents and businesses and will determine how best to use the resources available to us, when we know more detail.”